NAY PYI TAW (2 NOVEMBER 2014): Landing their first ISTAF SuperSeries title is proving to be as slippery as catching an eel in water for Malaysia as they lost 20-22, 21-18,-21-23 to Thailand after coming within a point of winning ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/14.
The deciding set saw the national team leading 20-18 and poised on the verge of a historic win at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium here before Thai striker Thawisak Thongsai struck twice to force deuce. With the first team going two points clear emerging winner, Thailand hit the first blow before Malaysia came back with a typical lightning bolt from Khairol Zaman Hamir Akhbar.
Tekong Mohd Syahir Mohd Rosdi, who had been the driving force behind his teammates with his sizzling serves, sent the ball into the net at the worst time possible to give Thailand the advantage. Thawisak, who converted all 27 of his spikes, launched his last of the match and Malaysia once again found themselves playing bridesmaid to the top seeds for the fourth consecutive ISTAF SuperSeries finals.
“This was sepaktakraw played at its highest level, and I’m so proud of my boys for playing their part,” said coach Najib Iman, who was inconsolable after the match. “A lack of fitness and the pressure to win may have contributed to our loss, but in the end we just ran out of luck.”
The national team were the dominating force in the match, with Syahir racking up eight aces, captain Syazreenqamar Salehan steadying the boat with his saves and Khairol Zaman unstoppable in attack and defence. They were ahead for the most part and forced the Thais to come from behind in all three sets.
The Thais, who played all five of their players, were largely hampered by the ineffectiveness of both their tekong, Nattapon Kraiwan and the baby-faced Rattadech Noijaroen. And although they paled in comparison with the Malaysians, the defending champions held their nerve under pressure and hammered home the fact that they are the world’s best sepaktakraw team.
In the third-fourth placing match, hosts Myanmar beat Singapore 21-18, 21-13.
The national women’s team avoided finishing in last place when they beat Japan 21-17, 21-16. The largely inexperienced side closed fifth in the tournament for their worst ever ISTAF SuperSeries showing.
Thailand, who has won every single ISTAF SuperSeries title since the first tournament commenced in 2011, showed no sign of giving up their dominance of the game by defeating Vietnam 21-18, 21-13 in the finals.
ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 kicked-off the 2014/15 season. Three other legs are scheduled to be played in South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The tournament is jointly organised by the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) and Asia Sports Ventures (ASV), ISTAF’s exclusive global commercial and developmental partner. It is being held with the support of host partners the Myanmar Ministry of Sports and the Myanmar Sepaktakraw Federation (MSTAF).
ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 was televised on ASTRO Arena, ASTRO SuperSports, ASTRO SuperSports HD and RTM. A total of 12 hours of live coverage was aired during the last three days of the tournament.
The tournament was also televised to over 70 countries. For the very first time, fans could also catch all four days of tournament action live on www.sepaktakraw.org.
The ISTAF SuperSeries is the first and only elite platform for regular sepaktakraw competition at the highest level. Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament acknowledged by ISTAF and plays a key role in deciding the official ISTAF World Rankings.
FINAL RESULTS (MEN)
Finals: Thailand bt Malaysia 2-1 (20-22, 21-18, 21-23)
3rd -4th Placing: Myanmar bt Singapore 2-0 (21-18, 21-13)
FINAL RESULTS (WOMEN)
Finals: Thailand bt Vietnam 2-0 (21-18, 21-13)
3rd -4th Placing: Myanmar bt Indonesia 2-1 (21-19, 22-24, 21-16)
#ISTAF #ASV #Malaysia #ISSMyanmar